Young adult fantasy writer Tamora Pierce and Julie Holderman are planning a science fiction convention for young adults — and young adult sf, and are planning it all on a LiveJournal group. Love this idea — when I started going to cons, there was an enormous group of bratpack kids like me in attendance. These days, it seems like most of the kids were dragged along by their parents. Eventually, the parents will die off — and then where will we be?
But when it comes to the presence of kidlit authors at conventions? Our favorite conventions welcome writers of content for younger readers, but these writers are in the minority at the con. Often kidlit writers are treated by members of adult F&SF cons in a manner that is patronizing at best, snubbing or scornful at worst. In recent months this has been a growing burr under our saddles, until chance remarks after a recent con got us to talking about the place of YA and kids' F&SF in the literary world in general.
Ours is an outsider arena–not mainstream enough for the purely kidlit crowd, not adult enough for the F&SF purists. And yet, most F&SF readers were introduced to the genres as kids and still re-read their favorites, if they don't continue to read the new F&SF which is being published for younger readers! We run into as many adult readers of kidlit at cons as we do actual, real, well–you know–kids and teens!
Following a long and fruitless hunt for a kidlit con, we started talking about making our own. Think of it, folks. Your dream date: writers, editors, star booksellers, artists, critics, art, videos, anime, and a dealer's room filled with treats. Panel topics about the art you love, discussions on publishing books for children and teens, what works (what lasts) in movies for kids. A con for the well-read, regardless of age, featuring the writers who changed your life.
That's what we're doing here. A project of this size needs a lot of active participation in its planning and execution. In other words, we need help, in the form of volunteers, ideas, and funding. This is where we open the floor to you all for suggestions, recommendations, and all of the assistance we can get. Do you know anyone who might provide us with grant money? (Can you write grants?) Are you willing to work on a con committee, and in what capacity? Have you started a convention and are you willing to give advice on starting a convention? Who would you like to see, as guests and as the first Guests of Honor (writer and artist)? Your input is welcome!